Tag Archives: tutorial

Simple potholders or hotpads

I belong to a quilting group on Facebook and this project for pot holders was posted. Here is my own photo tutorial on the simple potholders.


template for batting

template for batting

Using dish covers, I traced circles on the cotton batting. I made both sizes, blue and orange. 😉 You can use cotton batting or batting that is made specifically for potholders.


Widows and orphans and crazy patch

These are some of the potholders I whipped up quickly.



scrap pile

I gathered my materials – scraps from other projects and box of bias tape bindings. I plan to use up much of what you see.


On to the tutorial. To start, I placed a leftover block on the cotton batting. I did not use a separate foundation (muslin); I simply sewed right onto the batting.DSCN0042

I topstitched the seam lines, because I like the quilted look.DSCN0043

I placed coordinating fabric along the edges so that fabric covers the batting completely.DSCN0044

DSCN0045 DSCN0046

Trim around the batting.

Then I found another green print and cut 3 circles. Place one circle on the back of the batting with the right side up. The other two circles should be folded in half with right sides facing. Place them on the back of the potholder so the fold lines are together.DSCN0047 DSCN0048

I sewed a narrow zigzag all around the edge to keep the layers together.DSCN0049

Add a binding and you are done. If you are making a circle, you must use bias binding. DSCN0050

The folded circles added to the back allow you to use the potholder as a pan or lid grabber.DSCN0051



Quick and simple quilt idea

Simple to make, this quilt can be whipped up in a few hours and make a child happy all winter long.

quick lap quilt

I made these in snuggle-quilt size for a child, but the same steps apply if you want to make it adult size or large enough for a bed. No batting needed.

My husband and I couldn’t resist the monkey and frog fabrics we found in flannel one day. I had already made lap quilts for the two of us using cotton for the front (not pieced, whole cloth) and batting with flannel backing. I wondered how it would work to use fleece for the backing. It would be soft, and warm and heavy enough to replace the batting as well.

For each quilt I purchased 1 1/2 yards of flannel fabric and 1 1/2 yards of a coordinating color of fleece. I knew there would be some leftover, but it’s never wasted.

I prewashed the flannel and trimmed it. Then I laid it out on my cutting table with one corner of the flannel matching a corner of the fleece. I cut the fleece with 2 inches overlap on the other two sides.

Then I repositioned the flannel so there was 1 inch of fleece overlap on all sides. Turn the fleece from the back to the front and pin to the flannel. No need to finish the edge of the fleece, as it won’t ravel.

I made mitered corners by first folding over the point at the corner, then folding down the two sides of the miter. Pin very well.

Because the fleece may tend to get caught between the toes of a presser foot, I used a teflon foot with a flat bottom, and the left position for my needle. I simply topstitched around.

teflon presser foot with roller

Then comes the fun part! I used the darning/embroidery foot and machine quilting thread, and hopped all over the quilt. No need to baste or pin, the flannel grabs the fleece and holds tight, and in doing both quilts I had only one instance of a wrinkle being stitched in place. I blame being distracted, and a careful person wouldn’t have that happen.

darning foot

I moved all around the frogs, sometimes even twice, to secure the layers of fabric together. I could have added shapes, or hearts, or even the grandson’s name, but I left it as a meander stitch.

I wrote down the times as I did the steps. I was very surprised I went from pre-washed fabric in the first photo, to the finished product in only 1 hour 50 minutes. Perception is odd, isn’t it? I was thinking it took so much longer than that.

Here’s the breakdown:

30 minutes to press the prewashed flannel, trim off the selvage, make sure it’s square, trim the fleece to 2″ larger each direction, reposition to 1″ overlap all around, and pin the fleece as a self-binding.

15 minutes to stitch the binding along 4 edges.

65 minutes to change the presser foot on the machine and meander-stitch the body of the quilt. The timing on this part depends on how densely you stitch.

Very quick and very easy to make. Finished size on these is 41 1/2″ by 53″. The fleece backing is so snuggly I really don’t want to give up the quilts, but I’m going to force myself to wrap them and put them under the tree so I don’t change my mind. I can just see two little boys watching TV with these quilts, or sitting in their mother’s lap under the quilt to hear a story.

Tutorial: Fabric covered photo album

Last summer I had picked up a photo album at a thrift store. I used the hard cover to make over into a book purse.

Seaside Date Evening Bag

Seaside Date Evening Bag

Now I find I have a need for a small photo album, so I remembered that I had kept the photo sleeves and decided to make a new hardcover for the album. It was very quick (about an hour) and pretty easy. In fact, no sewing needed!

Find a piece of cardboard larger than you need. In my case, 8.5×11 was plenty big enough. I wanted some overhang on 3 sides to protect the edges of the photos.

Trim the cardboard to the size you need. Center the photo sleeves and mark the two fold lines to form the spine.

Use something with your straight edge to score the two fold lines. I used a regular screwdriver. The scored lines will be on the outside of the folds.

Choose your fabric. Cut fusible interfacing the same size as your cardboard. Center it on your fabric and press, leaving a margin for turning under.

Use a craft or tacky glue, and first glue the spine, or narrow center portion of the cardboard to the back side of the fabric. Then, in turn, fold one cover and glue to fabric, then the other. It is important to fold as you glue, so that the book will tend to stay closed rather than try to flop open.

Squiggle some glue around the edges, eyeballing the distance that your fabric will turn under. First, fold the corners at an angle, as shown. Dab the corner fabric with more glue, and turn the rest of the fabric.

Choose your inner cover fabric. Measure just larger than the cardboard cover. Fuse with interfacing on the reverse side, interfacing being a little less than the size of the cardboard. Turn under raw edges.

Center the inner fabric to the inside of the album cover. First, glue the center (spine) portion, then fold and glue each end. Glue the spine of the photo sleeves and press to the spine of your cover. Finished!

Tutorial: eyeglass case

I needed a new eyeglass case, and I thought I would write the tutorial as I’m making it. It’s pretty simple and very fast to make!

First, I needed a scrap of cotton fabric for the outside, some fusible interfacing, and soft flannel for the lining.

Shown above is the old eyeglass case I had been using. It fit some previous smaller glasses I carried, but I needed something a little larger. I cut all three pieces of fabric 6 inches long and 5 5/8 inches wide. Fuse the interfacing to the back side of the outer fabric. I had to piece the fabric I chose because it was very long and not very wide.

Place the wrong sides of the flannel and the outer fabric together and pin.

Choose something large and round, about the size of a dinner plate, to make a curved corner. You are looking at the inside of the case, and the curved edge will be the upper left. Trim where you mark.

Use a short, narrow zigzag to finish the edges. On my machine, the settings were 3.0 wide and 1.0 long. Stitch only the curve first.

Fold in half, left over right, so that the edges meet. Starting at either the top or bottom edge, stitch around 3 sides. You are finished!

If you find this is too large for your glasses, it’s easy to cut at the right edge and stitch again.

Tutorial: Cell Phone soft case

I love making these. I’ve made two for myself, one for my mom, and put several in my Etsy store. Lined with soft flannel, they will keep the screen free from scratches and the interfacing makes the whole thing hold its shape.

Now it’s your turn to make your own. Put your personality into it! There are so many novelty fabrics that in a very short time you will find several you can’t live without. My solution? Make them all! Also a great way to use an orphan quilt block from a previous project.

Start by measuring your device. Smartphone, slider, clamshell, iPod, iPad, anything. Measure the longer side, shorter side, and depth.  For instance, my ancient iPhone is approximately 4.5 x 2.5 x .5.  Approximate is close enough.Add shorter side twice plus the depth. For mine, that would be 2. 5 + 2.5 + .5, or 5.5.  There will be bulk from the seam on the inside, so add a little, plus the fold takes up some bulk, and the seam at the top edge.

I’ve been using a 6 inch square, which works just fine, and you can see that the length will fit inside, as long as I take scant 1/4″ seams. You will cut a square of outer fabric, one of fusible interfacing, and one of flannel.

Note: if you have fabric with a one-way design, cut it 1/2″ longer than you need, cut the length in half, lay right sides together and stitch a  1/4″ seam. This will be the bottom of the cell phone case and the bottom of the one-way design should be at this seam. Now your design will be right side up on both sides of your cell phone case.

In this photo, I have highlighted the seam and the direction of the print in green.

Lay the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the outer fabric and press with your iron. Layer the wrong side of your flannel (if there is one) to the wrong side of the fused outer fabric and interfacing.


Use a strip of coordinating fabric or binding and bind opposite edges of the fabrics.






Fold so that the flannel is to the outside and the outer fabric to the inside. Stitch with a narrow seam at the sides.



It’s that easy!


Alternate method: no binding.

For this one I used two smaller pieces of flannel so there is a pieced seam.



Lay fabrics with right sides together and stitch at opposite ends.



Turn and press.





If desired, topstitch at the seams.



Turn outer fabric to the inside and stitch the side seams.




Turn right side out and press.

Tutorial: Dash mount for GPS

I’m the kind of person who would rather make something (if possible) than buy it. Once I saw a dashboard mount for a GPS in the store, I knew I could figure out how to make something that would work.

dash mount for GPS

I started twice, and there may still be some revising to do for looks, but I’m pleased with the results.


  • scrap vinyl (I used a banner)
  • rubber non-skid fabric
  • plastic disc from the GPS
  • cotton fabric, approximately 4″ by 12″
  • weight (sand, rice, beans, seed, etc)

Start with a circle on the scrap vinyl, approximately 5-6 inches in diameter. Cut around that circle. In the center, place your disc that came with the GPS and draw around it. You have to be sure not to sew within that circle later.

Fold the white cotton fabric in half and press. Sew the raw edge to the outer edge of the circle using a zigzag stitch.The raw edge will be hidden in the middle of the weight tube.

Fold the other edge of the cotton fabric and pin to the outside of the circle drawn earlier. You will be taking darts and inserting many pins.

The end of the fabric will overlap the start. Stitch down with a zigzag. Leave the end open for pouring in the weight, but stitch down where it began.

Using a funnel, pour your choice of weighty material inside the tube. You may have to work it around to where it was stitched down. Keep pouring until it is quite full, then stitch down the end.

Remove the paper from the adhesive on the disc and stick it down to the vinyl in the center. On the bottom side, glue the non-skid rubber fabric. Your dash mount is ready to use.

New twist on an old favorite

I was pondering the making of a small book purse, of the style that opens at the top. It has always been awkward to me to glue the side pieces in and glue the straight piece into the book cover. I wondered if I could figure out how to sew it all together as one piece, then glue. I think I hit on how to do it.

Since I am using quilting cotton, I used two layers and even decided to have the outer layer a sky blue blender, and the inner layer as a lining, in white on white. For the main straight piece of the lining, I added interfacing to the middle. I’ve found that the craft glue tends to bleed through thinner fabrics. Layer the fabric in this order: interfacing on the bottom, outer fabric facing up, lining fabric facing down. The right sides are together.

For the side pieces, shaped like triangles, I omitted the interfacing because I want them to easily fold together inside the purse when in use. I sewed a straight seam where the top of the piece is, turned and pressed, and then topstitched with a decorative stitch that coordinates with the book cover.

I marked the outer edges of the book cover when open as far as I want the purse to open. To mark the second piece, I stacked the pieces, poked pins through at the points of the line drawn, and turned it over to draw the same on the other piece.

Mark on the straight piece the straight edge of the two long sides of the book cover, with marks for the edges of the cover and the spine portion.

Trim the triangle piece close to the stitching lines marked. Insert it lining side up between the lining and outer fabrics. Line up the marks for the spine on both white fabrics. Sew only that portion of the line.

Make a diagonal clip at the corners, on the side piece only. Pull one side of the side piece so that the stitching lines are lined up and pin like crazy. I was afraid this part would shift on me, but it didn’t. Then stitch just that portion.

Do the same for the other side of the same piece.

Of course, you would repeat for the side piece that goes on the opposite side of the purse. You may need to carefully maneuver the pieces as you sew. This part doesn’t show in the pictures, but trim the fabric close to where you stitched.

Reach inside and pull the side pieces out, turning the white lining fabric to the other side of the whole piece.

Now you have one piece, a complete purse liner! Time to finish the two upper edges.

I took short lengths of bias binding. Line up the stitching line on the binding with the edge where the side piece ends. Do the same on the other side, and pin between, making sure not to stretch the bias binding. Repeat for the other side.

After stitching, trim the excess fabric.

Pull the binding to the inside, pin in place, and stitch.

I chose to use a webbed belt for the handle of this purse. You would attach handles in the manner you choose. When I glue, I glue beneath the purse portion.

Use plenty of craft glue on the spine portion, carefully place your purse lining, and press into place. When it dries, you can glue the rest of the purse into place.

I’m posting this before the glue is dry enough to finish gluing, so I plan to update this post with the finished picture of the purse.